OK, “surviving” might be a bit strong, but keeping warm on the slopes in the middle of winter can be a challenge. As well as the main clothing like jackets and trousers, there are other things that can make a big difference for people who struggle to stay warm:
Extremities get cold first. It is what the body does to protect itself from cold. So, if your hands or feet get cold, it might not be down to the gloves or boots, but because you haven’t got enough layers on. Wear good thermals, and if your hands and feet are still cold, wear another jumper.
Helmet and Hat
Helmets can expose the neck to cold mountain air. Neck warmers, thin balaclavas or multipurpose tubes keep you toasty warm. Like scarves, but better.
Get your feet out
Particularly for skiers: if your feet have been cold and numb for more than an hour, you need to warm them up. Get inside, take off the boots and get the feet warm again. This will allow you to ski again afterwards, rather than developing serious cold injuries.
Dry your boots
Damp or wet boots are bad news. You need to dry your boots overnight, so if the hotel or apartment doesn’t have specific boot heaters, you need to make your own arrangements. Portable boot dryers work really well and are easier than balancing boots on radiators.
Giles Lewis is an ambassador for Dynastar skis and Lange boots. He is a ski Instructor with the development centre, who operate in val d’isere Tignes and the Three Valleys, France. He is a trainer and examiner of Instructors for BASI and a member of the British Demo team.
You want to go skiing, but your partner is not so keen – “what else is there to do on a ski holiday apart from ski?” they keep saying.
Well once you are out there on the slopes, ripping it up here are a few ideas from our friends at Ski Bonjour.
Not a Keen Skier? Here’s What Else You Can Do on a Skiing Holiday…
So you’ve somehow found yourself being roped into a skiing holiday with family or friends, despite the fact that your idea of an active holiday is one that involves more than a minute’s walk to the bar. First things first, don’t panic! Whether you’re a ski connoisseur or ‘can’t-oisseur’, we’ve got your back.
If you’re about to jet off very soon, we’ve put together a few things you can add to your to-do list to ensure you don’t find yourself feeling too bored when everyone else is hitting the piste.
Of course, you could join them; there’s nothing wrong with starting out on a small slope after all. But if you can’t think of anything worse than the prospect of a tumble in the snow, go for one of the following options instead…
Check Out Your Resort’s Spa
Love to kick back and relax? You might just be in luck if you go skiing then, with many of the resorts having a spa on site. In the chalets themselves, you might find everything from hydro-massage baths fed with thermal water, or even a Jacuzzi or hot tub outside.
The resort spas will no doubt offer everything from facials to mud wraps, and even Turkish baths. And what could be better than the chance to enjoy a soothing massage when your skin’s feeling cold and tingly following a day facing the elements?
Make the Most of a Quiet Chalet – If you’re someone who’s constantly dashing around, you’ll probably appreciate the chance to kick off your shoes and relax. And if you’re joining family or friends on a skiing holiday, the good news is there will most likely be out on the slopes for the majority of the day. With that in mind, treat the break like you would a relaxing beach holiday; start the day with a lie in and grab a good book or two to get stuck into. Later, take a hot bath while watching a film via your in-bathroom TV – many ski resorts have them, so make sure you check the brochure or website to check before you go!
Try a Husky Ride – You might not like the sound of hitting the ski slopes but that doesn’t always mean that, as a non-skier, you won’t enjoy other snow-based activities. So why not let man’s best friend show you around in the snow and experience dog sledding? Husky rides are one of the most traditional ski break pastimes and nothing beats the chance to enjoy the scenery without having to hobble around in the ice and snow.
Thrill Seeker? Give Paragliding a Go – If snow’s a no-no for you, try soaring above the mountains – tandem or solo – with a spot of paragliding. It’s fast becoming a must-try non-ski activity in a host of skiing resorts and it’s one of the best ways to make the most of the gorgeously wintry surroundings
Join the Others for Après-Ski Socialising – Have you spent the day on your own, mug of coffee in hand and roaring fire lit? By the time the others make their way back to the chalet you’ll be crying out for some company, we bet, so think about taking advantage of the party atmosphere many ski resorts offer. There are plenty of things to do and places to go after a day’s spent on the slopes, so feast on some of the area’s delicious foods and order a local beer to wash it down with. It’s right about now that you’ll realise exactly why your friends and family were right to persuade you to join them for the break!
Ski Bonjour www.skibonjour.com
OUTSTANDING AFFORDABLE CATERED CHALETS
VAL D’ISÈRE • TIGNES LES BRÉVIÈRES • TIGNES LE LAC
This Summer sees a lot of work going on around the 3 Valleys with 3 new lifts going in.
In Mottaret the old fixed chairs of Arolles & Table Verte are removed along with the Combes 4-man chair. A new Combes 6-seater routed to the right of where it is now and with a mid-station exit to a new floodlit green run is being constructed. A new beginners area with a short Arolles drag lift are also being built.
Over in the Belleville Valley the occasional bottleneck of St Martin 2 is to be relieved with an upgrade to a 6 seater hi-speed detachable hooded chair with the old 4-man being moved to replace the old Bettex 2-man chair to now give access to the bottom of the Gros Tougne piste for direct access in to Les Menuires.
Watch La Société des 3 Vallées video animating some of the new upgrades
Are you Skiing in Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Motteret, St.Martin or Les Menuires?
Why not try a Private Development with TDCski in the 3 valleys this winter ?
There’s no better way to hone old and new skills than to take a 3 hour private development lesson with one of our BASI 4 coaches.
We can tailor each lesson specifically to your requirements and concentrate on your strengths and weaknesses to produce a better performance all over the mountain.
Lessons start at 9am or 1pm and are available at just 250€ for 1-4 people.
We can meet you in Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Motteret, St.Martin or Les Menuires.
To book contact email@example.com or call +33 6 85 88 05 91
Autumn arrives in the northern hemisphere and this means one thing: it’s nearly time to go sliding around on the snow! The anticipation is really exciting, but nothing beats those moments when you’re doing it, enjoying the mountains in the best way we know how. Here at the development centre we’ve been sharing our passion for skiing since 2002 and we’re pumped up for the coming season. These are some of the things that we’re looking forwards to the most –
Heading down a freshly groomed piste allows you to feel how smoothly and precisely you are skiing. Less interference from the snow, it’s about enjoying your best turns.
Feel of the carve
Make like a racer, feel the forces driving the turn and appreciate what modern skis can do on the piste. The deeper you go, the bigger the rush.
It’s not the size that counts.
Jumps of any size are exhilarating, whether in the park or in the backcountry, jumping is one of those things some people (us) never quite grow out of.
The Quiet of the Powder
Sometimes, after some deep powder turns,the only noise is your own breathing
We love skiing for ourselves , but we also love it when we can share our passion, knowledge and enthusiasm with others. We love making a real difference to people’s
The Development Centre run ski schools in Val d’Isere, Tignes and the Three Valleys. Our team of highly qualified, experienced and motivated instructors are there to help you to achieve your goals, whatever they might be.
As our thoughts start to turn to winter, we find ourselves, starting to think more about the excitement of the oncoming season. We find ourselves getting skis and boots out of the locker, even though we know that it is another two months until we get to play on them.
Computers are busy with preparations and talk of new snow, and our minds start running wild with thoughts of seasons past. Memories of the best powder days, of the finest blue bird days, of the friends, of the laughter, of the fun all start to coming to the fore of the mind.
With all these thoughts and emotions flying around, here at TDCski we have found ourselves starting to tell each others stories.
“Do you remember that time when…”, “What about when we…”, “The thing I loved that day the most was…” the stories go on.
If we’re having these thoughts then we bet you are too.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could get everyone to share their stories?
So we thought it might be fun if we run a little competition – the winner gets a free TDCski Val d’Isere 3hr Private Lesson (€230-€280), or a free place on a 5 day Early Season Clinic (€300).
Win a Free Private Lesson or 5 day Early Season Clinic
To win this prize all you need to do is to post a photo and a story, or an heartfelt recollection, of what it is that you love about skiing the most on our Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/tdcski
A great photo, well written words, an overall passion for skiing.
The competition will be open until Val d’Isere’s opening day 28th Nov 2015.
Photos and stories will be reviewed by a select TDCski panel.
The Panel is looking for/judging based on – a great photo, well written words, an overall passion for skiing.
Winner will be announced on Val d’Isere opening day – 28th Nov.
We love skiing, we know you do too, so share those stories.
We love skiing, we know you do to, so share those stories with us and win some fantastic ski coaching.
After a bonkers couple of weeks of winter weather, the cold fluffy powder is restricted to the high north faces. But don’t fret. We have warm settled conditions now and my 2nd favourite type of snow – Spring Snow. It can be hard to find and get it good, so here is Coach Kieran explaining:
What is it? When the sun thoroughly heats the snow pack from the surface down to the earth, the prevalent moisture spreads uniformly across it’s depth. Given the right temperatures, this freezes solid in the evening and over night. The next day the sun can heat up the top inch or so, creating a ‘corn’ feel, on a firm base. It’s great to ski and potentially quite safe.
To early = smooth, slick, solid ice. Both dangerous and uncomfortable.
To late = slushy to the base of snow pack. Serious avalanche territory.
Too few cycles = bumpy, other skiers tracks, variable depths, variable thaw rates.
So what do you consider when finding Spring snow?
Timing: at 09:00 most of the East faces (Belvarde, Borsat, Charvet, etc) have been in the sun for a few hours, and given time to absorb those rays and soften. South faces late morning and lunch time. West faces are best in the afternoon.
Temperatures: The previous afternoon needs to be hot enough to melt out the other tracks and uneven nature of the slope. This will hopefully be +5 ish with direct sunlight. Overnight, the colder the better -5, brilliant. Especially with a deeper snow pack. As soon as the temperatures approach 0, or go above, combined with direct sunlight the snow will soften. It may be a short window of 1 hour to hit the slope at the right time.
Cycles: The more melt freeze cycles, the more compact the snow will be, and the fewer skiers tracks from previous days. This makes the snow and slope as a whole more predictable, and safer as it’s glued together at the bottom.
Aspects: The sun rises due East on the 21st March, and sets due West. After that date, it rises gradually more North East, but still takes a trajectory around the south of the sky. So North faces will remain mostly in the shade for the season. Southerly facing slopes at this time of year take a beating from the high sun. Take for instance the Fontaine Froid; probably the first slope to run out of snow at the end of April.
Angles: A slope will absorb more sun if it directly faces it. A very flat slope will be softened less than a 40 degree slope. Especially early East faces, and late West faces.
Slope base (anchors, rocks, grass, smooth slabs): This is a safety point more than anything. Rocks in the snow pack create pockets of air, and they heat up in the sun. A slope dotted with rocks is probably more unstable at this time of year than a big open white slope. A shrubby, or large scree based slope will have better anchors to hold the snow from avalanching than a smooth rock slope or fine grassy slope.
Altitude: This will usually relate inversely with the temperature, unless there is a pressure/temperature inversion in which the valley is colder than the high mountains. Generally the higher you go, the longer it takes for the Spring snow to transform from hard icy snow.
Wind: The same conditions as the day before mean very little if the wind is 5mph stronger. Slightly more wind can slow the transformation by more than an hour, and can stop it all together.
Cirrus Cloud: That very hazy, high level cloud that slightly dims your shadow. This can have a massive effect by absorbing the suns rays and stopping the transformation.
There are countless other factors to consider, especially when managing a group in this kind of terrain, but these are the main contributors to good snow.
Always carry at least a Transceiver, Shovel and Probe with you. We hand these out for use during our Spring Clinics, where you will be guided to cool spots, educated in finding good safe snow, and improve your technique!
Be safe, and try to get out for some high altitude resort fun in Val d’Isere over the next few weeks… We have spaces on our group clinics. The snow is amazing, the lifts will be dead quiet, and the sun is out!
In the Vanoise national park that incorporates Val d’Isere and Tignes, TDC coaches and clients ski to extremely cool and inaccessible places, then get a helicopter back out. Being dropped on top of a mountain is not permitted in France, but getting picked up in certain places at the bottom is fine.
Some of our coaches have had the requisite training and been signed-off allowing them to call in the helicopter and arrange the pick up. Amongst other things, this entails stacking skis, pacing out distances, and sticking your arms up in the air facing the correct way (over simplified).
Destinations that the development centre heliski guide / instruct to include:
Lac du Chevril – big dammed reservoir below Tignes, usually via an exhilarating route down.
Bonneval – over the back of the Pissillias Val d’Isere Glacier and down the other side.
The heli pilot (undoubtedly the coolest looking guy I’ve ever met) can then drop back to the top of Solaise, bottom of La Daille, or in Val Claret to continue the off piste experience.
If any of this takes your fancy, then speak to our office firstname.lastname@example.org about arranging a half day trip (instructor and heli) from 340eu, or just bolt on a helicopter ride to your already arranged lesson, from 115eu
Visual/Audio/Kinaesthetic (VAK) gets banded around loads, even at the top levels of Ski Teaching. I’ve often kept quiet, not to rock the boat, as somebody talks ‘knowledgeably’ about it. A paper from 2008: click here illustrates the dearth of worthwhile experiments that have been carried out in this area of psychology, and references papers that have contradicted this learning theory all together.
Please stay open minded reading the paper and this blog. Remember that opinions are great, but science doesn’t really care about your opinion or anecdotes, unless they involve double blind randomised testing with high numbers of trials/participants 🙂
The Pashler et al. paper states that the VAK thing has gained much influence in the world of education, and I’ve seen that it definitely exists in the realm of ski instruction. The paper finds that both children and adults do have learning preferences, but these usually don’t match up to their most effective method of learning a particular subject. Also, of the huge amount of academic literature on the subject of learning styles, very few experiments were capable of testing the VAK hypothesis with validity and those that did contradict it.
You may be thinking “a lack of evidence doesn’t disprove the hypothesis”, but disproving things is tough and sometimes impossible. For instance; we have a lack of evidence for unicorns being able to ski, as we’ve not witnessed it… it’s not disproved. But white-horned-horses carving turns, is as unlikely as Echinacea preventing bruising. Ice prevents bruising, you can test it (punch yourself in both eyes, and apply echinacea to one and ice to the other – monitor results). Why don’t all ski teachers try where possible to use evidence to improve the performance and enjoyment of their clients?
Well, we do (and not to the detriment of fun, enjoyment and happiness). Time would be wasted trying to figure out if my clients have Visual, Audio of Kinaesthetic preferences; if they do, they’re probably wrong, or I’m wrong in assessing it, and it more than likely has no relation on how they’re going to learn best anyway! Crazy eh.
Do we teach using VAK analogies, descriptions and explanations. Yes. It’s a diverse and interesting way to mix up a lesson. Those who’ve been in my coaching sessions may have heard me describe momentum/kinetic energy transferral causing snow displacement thus creating sound waves that we can hear! Everyone can understand my squiggles in the snow, followed by the sound of the turn, and the feeling of the ski under their foot. Boom, there’s VAK all in a one-er. Maybe it is more valuable to utilise a teaching method according to the clients weakest/least preffered aspect of VAK learning. Who knows?
It is definitely far more appropriate to to use a visual lesson when describing how to take a high line in the gates. By drawing lines in the snow, or getting people to watch an example. Whereas it’s more important to be auditory in explaining that someone can’t get their foot in the binding because the heel piece is in an upward position. Attempting to get one’s weight centred across the sole of one’s foot is impossible to listen for!
It may take a while for ski instructing examining bodies to get on board with not talking about this, so if you have an assessment coming up, be nice to the trainer and point them in the direction of http://scholar.google.com Because telling people that their theory is debunked doesn’t always go down well. Trust me.
Terry – these are my own words and not necessarily the views of the development centre as such… though the team whole-heartedly agree with my adoption of evidence based practise, where possible, in teaching skiing.